mitsuda-e 密陀絵
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Lit. Litharge painting. A modern term for a type of ancient oil painting that uses lead oxide, or *mitsudasou 密陀僧, as a desiccant. The medium consists of powdered pigments added to a base of perilla oil and a small amount of lead-oxide that has been heated with the oil. The technique, which may have originated in Persia, was used in China at least from the Han dynasty. Transmitted from China to Japan in the 7c, mitsuda-e was used on wood and leather. Its use was prevalent in the Nara period because it easily produced the color white, this not being possible in lacquer painting *urushi-e 漆絵. The technique is also called yuga 油画, which some scholars include, along with yushoku 油色 (paintings coated with perilla oil), as a type of mitsuda-e. Examples of yuga include the Tachibana Shrine Tachibana fujin no zushi 橘夫人厨子 (early 8c) and according to some scholars, the Beetle wing Shrine *Tamamushi no zushi 玉虫厨子 (mid-7c), both in Houryuuji 法隆寺, Nara. The craftsmen of the Tamamushi no zushi seem to have used the technique in combination with lacquer painting. Examples of yushoku include a biwa 琵琶 in the *Shousouin 正倉院, Nara (see * kanpachiga 捍撥画). Although examples of yushoku also exist from the Kamakura and the Momoyama periods, there are very few examples of yuga dating after the Heian period. During the Momoyama and early Edo periods, however, yuga was used extensively in the decoration of lacquerware. Mitsuda-e lacquerware are presently produced in such places as Jouhana 城端 in Toyama prefecture and Okinawa.


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